The Good: The Habs are in the playoffs and they are the only Canadian team in the playoffs at that. There should be no shortage of cover in major Canadian media and no reason why their playoff games aren't available from coast to coast. Additionally Max Pacioretty is this [-] close to his first 40 goal season and Dustin Tokarski (who has looked solid in his few appearances with the big club) has signed a two year deal with the Canadiens. Neither George Parros nor Douglas Murray will dress for tonight's game.
The Neutral: Douglas Murray has escaped suspension for his awkward (and probably unintentional) hit from behind on Johan Sundstrom in Thursday night's game. Sundstrom remains out of the Islanders line-up with an upper body injury.
The Bad: Read this great primer on the Habs organizational depth. If it doesn't scare you just a little it should. Alex Galchenyuk isn't out for the entirety of the playoffs, but he will not be playing in the first round. If you thought that the Islanders game exposed some of the Habs weaknesses, wait until you see a full series against the Bolts. To bolster their forwards, the Habs have called up Mike Blunden (Andrew Berkshire's breakdown of the situation and the players skipped over in favour of Blunden is worth reading).
The Ugly: Jarred Tinordi is clearly below Bouillon and Murray in the defensive scheme of things and it's been confirmed as Bouillon is expected to dress tonight while Tinordi watches from the stands. The Habs have to wait and see what happens with the outcome of Sunday's Bolts-Caps game before knowing whether they will have home ice advantage. Should the Habs win tonight, they will move a point ahead of Tampa Bay, provided the Lightning don't win, the Canadiens gain home ice because they control all of the tie breakers with the Lightning. But if Tampa Bay manages any sort of win against the Caps, the Canadiens lose home ice. The Lightning lost Ryan Malone to arrest earlier this morning (cocaine possession).
The Rangers: This game is meaningless for the Rangers. Expect them to a few vets and to more than likely be without the services of Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider due to injuries. The Canadiens will face three former Habs in the New York line-up - Diaz, Moore, and Pouliot. The name Jesper Fast seems like a really bad pseudonym, like Ron Mexico. Cameron Talbot is expected to start for the Rangers.
Also a big thanks for having me.
Tale of the tape
Puck drop is at 7PM EST
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Thomas Vanek|
|Brian Gionta||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Rene Bourque||Danny Briere||Dale Weise|
|Michael Bournival||Ryan White||Mike Blunden|
|Andrei Markov||Alexei Emelin|
|Josh Gorges||P.K. Subban|
|Francis Bouillon||Mike Weaver|
Scratches: George Parros, Douglas Murray, Jarred Tinordi
Injuries: Brandon Prust (upper body, out for the remainder of the season), Travis Moen (concussion), Lars Eller (flu-like symptoms), Alex Galchenyuk (lower body injury - expected to miss first round of playoffs)
As for the Blueshirts
|Carl Hagelin||Derek Stepan||Rick Nash|
|Dominic Moore||Brad Richards||Jesper Fast|
|Benoit Pouliot||Derick Brassard||Mats Zuccarello|
|Dan Carcillo||Brian Boyle||Derek Dorsett|
|Anton Stralman||Marc Staal|
|John Moore||Justin Faulk|
|Raphael Diaz||Kevin Klein|
Scratches: Martin St. Louis, Dan Girardi
Injuries: Ryan McDonagh (shoulder), Chris Kreider (hand)
Check out the opposing side at Blueshirt Banter